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30 June, 2011

Paris in Seven Days: Monet's Garden and the Palace of Versailles

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086 It’s day three of my Parisian adventure with my ten-year-old grandson, in case you are following along…and we will not be in Paris today! This is the most important day of our trip…the whole reason we came to France! Today we head to Giverny…to see Monet’s garden! You may remember that I promised my grandson this visit when he was five and became a big fan of Monet thanks to a wonderful art teacher! I have booked a minibus tour for this special day.

082Even though the skies were overcast, the gardens did not disappoint! My grandson tried out his skills with his new camera…with results I will show you in a moment!

IMG_0532At last we get to see the water lilies! We had seen them on canvas when they made a stop in Atlanta almost exactly two years ago…but nothing compares to seeing Monet’s water garden in person…

IMG_0542 …or seeing the Japanese bridge and its reflection…an impressionist painting even in real life!

090 Next, we head to the flower garden with its wonderful roses in full bloom…

IMG_0508 …and get a little peek beyond those famous arches…

IMG_0549 …at Monet’s wonderful pink house with the green shutters!

121 Then we walk to the other side of the little village to visit Monet’s grave…away from all of the tourists who do not seem to know that he is there, surrounded by his loving family. (Photo by my grandson)

mill We head back to the minibus and stop for lunch along the way…here, at Le Moulin de Fourges! Isn’t it charming? They say it was constructed by the builders of Marie Antoinette’s little hamlet at Versailles! One of the best things about the tour is that the guide/driver takes back roads through the French country side and little villages! I want my grandson to see that side of France, too…not just Paris!

trogchurch We pass through Haute-Isle, where there is a Troglodyte village with homes carved into the rocks...and even a Troglodyte church that has been there since the 1600s!

123 Then we reach our next destination…the Palace of Versailles! The gilded gates, formerly admitting royalty into the courtyard, now admit tourists like us! (Photo by my grandson)
 124 Can you imagine magnificent carriages rolling across these cobblestones? (Photo by my grandson)

DB7E9958-944F-D99B-C472-31E0286602D0File The highlight once inside the palace is, of course, the Hall of Mirrors! I have snitched this photo from the official site of the Palace of Versailles so that you can actually see it instead of a sea of tourists! I know my grandson will read about it in history one day and he can say that the has been there!

142From the windows of the palace, we can see the magnificent gardens with the town of Versailles in the distance. It’s a strange contrast…this fabulous icon of French history sprouting up in the middle of a modern town! (Photo by my grandson)

0005_jardin35 And…we can see from the windows that the fountains are working today…something I have never seen before in my several trips to Versailles! Unfortunately, by the time we got to the gardens, the display was over. :-(  However, classical music was still playing…giving us a feeling that if we looked closely enough, we might see the Sun King himself..Louis XIV...and his entourage disappearing around the corner! What a wonderful day…one I will never forget…but then I seem to say that about each day of our adventure!
Missed any Paris posts?
Back from Paris…or...My Grandson’s Favorites!  Listing the must-see spots for a ten year old boy!
My Favorite Street in Paris…Rue Cler   Great little street to use as your headquarters 
In case you want to follow along, here is my plan for visiting Paris in seven days! I am linking each of the seven days as I complete the posts.
Day One…All about Eiffel! Eiffel Tower/ Champ de Mars park and play area
Day TwoSightseeing by Subway! Arc de Triomphe/ Montmarte/ Sacré-Coeur
Day ThreeMonsieur Monet, I Presume (and a lot of Louis)! Giverny/ Versailles minibus tour
Day FourThe Cradle of Paris! La Sainte Chapelle/ la Conciergerie/ Notre Dame/ Latin Quarter/ the book stalls/ ice cream on Ile St. Louis/ the bâteau mouche on the Seine
Day FiveArt Museum Madness…Plus Play in the Park! Louvre/ Tuileries Garden/ l’Orangerie/ Musée d’Orsay
Day SixA Phantom, a Fountain and Some History! Opéra Garnier/ Pompidou Center/ Carnavalet Museum
Day Seven…A Tomb, a Tank and a Tower! Napoleon’s Tomb and the Musée de l’Armée at les Invalides/ Eiffel Tower at night
Thanks so much for stopping by! See you next time! A la prochaine! Pin It!

29 June, 2011

I've Been Featured at No Minimalist Here!

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Pictures-1 I am so excited! Sherry at No Minimalist Here  is currently featuring my home on her lovely blog for her Open House Party! I am honored to have been chosen, especially since Sherry has such a beautiful home herself! Since I first saw Sherry’s blog I have felt that she and I must be sisters from another mother…lol… because I love everything that she does! Her home is beautifully decorated with her fabulous frenchy style and wonderful collections! Please be sure to head over to visit Sherry, if you haven’t already, to take a peek at her lovely home and her beautiful blog! And join her on Wednesday nights for her Open House Party! You’ll find links for all sorts of wonderful ideas from our fellow bloggers! Thanks so much, Sherry! You have made my whole week! Pin It!

25 June, 2011

Tutorial: Ruffled Faux Grain Sack Table Runner

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runner I’m interrupting my Paris in Seven Days series to show you a little project I have been working on. It’s my new table runner…made from toweling that does a good job of imitating vintage grain sacks! It seems that while I was in France, the fabric caught on in blogland and has been popping up everywhere. I had an email from my friend Linda at Nina’s Nest telling me all about it upon my return!

IMG_3891 I was really excited to find out that you can order toweling since my beloved ruffled burlap table runner (tutorial here) was looking a little heavy for the summer months. We can thank Sherry at No Minimalist Here for finding a source!

006 The color I chose…no surprise here…was blue and natural. All you have to do is look around on my blog to see that I love that color combination! And, since it comes 16 inches wide with the sides already hemmed, it just naturally lends itself to being made into a table runner. And at only $4.98 a yard, you can have a nice custom runner for around $20, including shipping.

029 The first step, of course, is to measure your table. Here, Baby Kitty demonstrates an alternate method for measuring. It appears that mine is about four cats long...or 68 inches, for those of you without cats. Once you have measured your table top, add 14 inches to allow for a 6 inch drop on each end plus a seam allowance. Then add an additional 32 inches to allow for the ruffle. My measurements were 68 inches + 14 inches + 32 inches for 114 inches or a little over 3 yards. I ordered 3 1/2 yards at $4.98 per yard, since it may only be ordered in 1/2 yard increments.

page 1. First, cut the fabric into two pieces…one piece measuring the length of your tabletop plus the additional 14 inches and a second piece which is 32 inches long. (You may have a little bit left over.) The 32 inch piece will be your ruffles. 2. Cut the 32 inch piece in half lengthwise. 3. Hem the short ends of the 32 inch pieces by folding under twice and top-stitching. 4. Run a long stitch through the long side with the raw edges and gather. 5. Adjust the gathers to the short end of your runner, right sides together and sew. I finished the seam with a zig-zag stitch, since the fabric tends to ravel. 6. (Not pictured) Press the seam toward the runner and top stitch from the right side. 

runner And…voilà! It was really easy and quick. Now I have a nice summery table runner to go with all of my blue and white!

035 Here, I set the table with my vintage Quimper ware and some mismatched vintage silverplate…love it! I have a feeling you will be seeing more of this one!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my project!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today's Thrifty Treasures on Mondays
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Sizzle into Summer
Kara at Elements Interiors for Whassup Wednesday
Gina at The Shabby Chic Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Leigh at Tales from Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thursday
Jill at French Cupboard for Voilà! French Inspiration on Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Fridays
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
See you next time! A la prochaine! Pin It!

21 June, 2011

Paris in Seven Days: Sightseeing by Subway...the Arc de Triomphe and Montmartre

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041 It’s day two of our adventure in Paris for my ten-year-old grandson and me! I decided to make it an easy day to give us a chance to recover from our jet lag, so after breakfast we head out for a little sightseeing by métro…the subway! Today we are visiting two of my favorites…(but then they are all my favorites!)…the Arc de Triomphe and Montmartre! First stop…the Arc de Triomphe…commissioned by Napoleon to honor his troops as they returned from war. It is located in the center of twelve converging avenues, so you must pass through an underground tunnel to access it.

043 Once up close, you cannot help but be amazed! Every inch of it is covered with the history of France! Here, you see lists of the French victories since the Revolution that have been carved into the walls.

044 It is also here that you will find the tomb of the Unknown Soldier of France from World War I, which is decorated with fresh flowers each day. You can also go up into the Arc…

045 …where you will find a small museum, featuring likenesses of some of the carvings from the exterior, such as this one of a very scary Lady Liberty who is  leading the soldiers in Rude’s famous relief La Marseillaise. Yikes!

049 But on top, you will find a wonderful view of Paris…including the Eiffel Tower! What a way to start the day!

052 Next, we head north where, after winding up a narrow street, we are greeted by the iconic silhouette of the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur! We are in Montmartre…the bohemian part of Paris…where the artists hang out!

053 We stop for a picnic on a stone bench at the foot of the basilica…

060 …and feed our leftovers to the birds. My grandson loved that!

065 On the steps, a couple was having their wedding portrait done with all of Paris as the backdrop…gorgeous! Here I must say that the inside of the basilica is beautiful…filled with wonderful mosaics…but the real show is on the outside! That’s Montmartre for you!

070 - Copy We go around the corner to Place du Tertre to see the artists at work and admire their paintings and sketches. These were my grandson’s favorites!

071 And as we are heading out, I hear the strains of La vie en rose! A very talented chanteuse is doing her rendition of all of Edith Piaf’s most famous songs on the steps of Sacré-Coeur! My grandson and I sit and listen for a while…through Milord and Non, je regrette rien…perfect sound track for a visit to Montmartre!
(I have moved these three songs to the top of my playlist. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click to hear them and add a real feeling of Montmartre to my post!)

072 Ahhh! I hope he will always remember this…seeing the sights and hearing the sounds of Paris! I know I will never forget this wonderful day and, best of all, getting to share it with my favorite traveling buddy!

Missed any Paris posts?
Back from Paris…or...My Grandson’s Favorites!  Listing the must-see spots for a ten year old boy!
My Favorite Street in Paris…Rue Cler   Great little street to use as your headquarters 
In case you want to follow along, here is my plan for visiting Paris in seven days! I am linking each of the seven days as I complete the posts.
Day One…All about Eiffel! Eiffel Tower/ Champ de Mars park and play area
Day TwoSightseeing by Subway! Arc de Triomphe/ Montmarte/ Sacré-Coeur
Day ThreeMonsieur Monet, I Presume (and a lot of Louis)! Giverny/ Versailles minibus tour
Day FourThe Cradle of Paris! La Sainte Chapelle/ la Conciergerie/ Notre Dame/ Latin Quarter/ the book stalls/ ice cream on Ile St. Louis/ the bâteau mouche on the Seine
Day FiveArt Museum Madness…Plus Play in the Park! Louvre/ Tuileries Garden/ l’Orangerie/ Musée d’Orsay
Day SixA Phantom, a Fountain and Some History! Opéra Garnier/ Pompidou Center/ Carnavalet Museum
Day Seven…A Tomb, a Tank and a Tower! Napoleon’s Tomb and the Musée de l’Armée at les Invalides/ Eiffel Tower at night
Thanks so much for stopping by! See you next time! A la prochaine! Pin It!

19 June, 2011

Paris in Seven Days: All About Eiffel!

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011 Seven days in Paris…glorious! And even better…sharing my favorite place with one of my favorite little guys...my ten-year-old grandson! I knew I had to come up with a plan that allowed us to fit in everything that I wanted him to see. Sooo…I decided to concentrate on a certain arrondisement or part of Paris or a certain theme each day. I hope you will come along as I introduce my grandson to the City of Lights! Our plane arrived early in the morning and, since our hotel was just around the corner, we left our bags there and set off to explore the Eiffel Tower and the park at its feet!

007 I had given my grandson a new camera so that he could record his own version of the trip through his photos and he started snapping away immediately! We had tickets to go up at 1:00 pm…and thus avoid the long ticket line…so we had the morning to ourselves and Monsieur Eiffel! (Click here for information about buying tickets online.)

009 As you can see, the pigeons of Paris were also the subject of many of his photos, too! It was nice to just sit in park at the Champ de Mars and relax after our long flight! Here, I must say that my grandson is a wonderful traveling buddy and quite the little trooper…no complaints the entire trip!

014We headed off to a nearby sidewalk café to have lunch before we went up into the tower. He had a hot dog with a conspicuously missing bun and some real French fries! He says their hot dogs are better than ours!

016 Not to be outdone, I had some real French onion soup! lol The weather was very pleasant…highs in the mid 70s and lows in the mid 50s, so soup just filled the bill! Love that soup bowl!

012 Afterwards…back to the Eiffel Tower! It’s our turn to go up! I am always surprised each time I see it at just how big it is! A short wait and a quick elevator ride and we make it to the second floor!

027 However, everyone must stand in the same line for the elevator to the third floor. We entertained ourselves taking some photos from unusual angles! See the little pyramids along the ironwork? Those are the lights! I was interested to learn from the children’s pages on their website that they were installed by a team of 24 mountain climbers! Interesting!

025 The view of Paris is simply breath-taking! We had been under cloudy skies, but the sun came out just in time to allow us to take some great photos! This is the Champ de Mars…the park where we had spent the morning. Notice the way they trim their trees into a box shape! That’s the Ecole Militaire at the other end of the park…a military school whose most famous graduate is Napoleon Bonaparte!

023 From the other side of the tower, there is a lovely view across the Seine River of the Trocadéro, which houses several museums and offers a great place to take photos of the tower.

024 Also an interesting sight is the Ile aux Cygnes…Isle of the Swans…a man-made island with a small Statue of Liberty at its tip. The statue was given to Paris by Parisians living in the United States to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. You can just make it out at tip in the distance.

028 My grandson counted the Eiffel Tower among his favorites…naturally!

033Afterwards, we stop for ice cream in the park before heading to our hotel to get some rest! I have a fun day planned for tomorrow!

Missed any Paris posts?
Back from Paris…or My Grandson’s Favorites!  Listing the must-see spots for a ten year old boy!
My Favorite Street in Paris…Rue Cler   Great little street to use as your headquarters 
In case you want to follow along, here is my plan for visiting Paris in seven days! I am linking each of the seven days as I complete the posts.
Day One…All about Eiffel! Eiffel Tower/ Champ de Mars park and play area
Day TwoSightseeing by Subway! Arc de Triomphe/ Montmarte/ Sacré-Coeur
Day ThreeMonsieur Monet, I Presume (and a lot of Louis)! Giverny/ Versailles minibus tour
Day FourThe Cradle of Paris! La Sainte Chapelle/ la Conciergerie/ Notre Dame/ Latin Quarter/ the book stalls/ ice cream on Ile St. Louis/ the bâteau mouche on the Seine
Day FiveArt Museum Madness…Plus Play in the Park! Louvre/ Tuileries Garden/ l’Orangerie/ Musée d’Orsay
Day SixA Phantom, a Fountain and Some History! Opéra Garnier/ Pompidou Center/ Carnavalet Museum
Day Seven…A Tomb, a Tank and a Tower! Napoleon’s Tomb and the Musée de l’Armée at les Invalides/ Eiffel Tower at night
Thanks so much for stopping by! See you next time! A la prochaine! Pin It!

18 June, 2011

Father's Day Gift Ideas...with a French Accent!

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pliant-pecheur-chemise-bucheron It was fun to see the store windows in Paris last week… filled with gift ideas for their Fête des Pères…Father’s Day…on the same day as ours! I was also excited to see my latest email from Marie Claire Idées, a French newsletter with lots of fun crafting ideas! For example, here's a fun camping stool made from an old flannel shirt that has also been used to line the creel-turned-picnic basket!

cadre-pele-mele-lin-bois I love the masculine edge to this photo display with its frame made of branches!

pense-bete-jean-couture Isn’t this clever? A framed organizer made from an old pair of  jeans!

meuble-recup-cave-vin If you are good with power tools...or know someone who is... how about reworking a piece of furniture to create a wine cabinet!

etiquettes-jardin-outil-peinture Oooh…I like this one…parts of old tools painted to serve as labels for the garden! Love the wonderful garden cloche in the background!

meuble-etiquette-vin And finally, a cabinet revamped with a large print of a wine label! And…lovers of corks…just look at that pretty basket filled with them! Sigh! Maybe it’s a little too late to create one of these, but I am definitely filing them away in my gift idea file!
Bonne Fête and Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads in your life! Pin It!
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